A Haven in the City: Queens Library at Woodhaven

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By Judy Close. Originally published in the November/December 2008 issue of Library Matters, a Queens Library publication.

Queens Library at Woodhaven opened in 1910 as a traveling library station, and was designated a library a year later. Two reading clubs used the library so often and kept books circulating so regularly that, by 1920, it boasted the largest circulation in the system. In 1924, Queens Library at Woodhaven reopened as a Carnegie library.

Community Library Manager Rebecca Alibatya notes that, since she started her tenure in 2004, there have been various changes to the library. For instance, the entire collection has been replenished with newer items, including more multimedia materials. Also, Spanish-speaking librarian Vilma Daza came from Queens Library at Corona to help serve a growing population of families and has made major daily Spanish newspapers available to the public.

In addition to the English-language collection, Chinese newspapers have been purchased to meet demand, and the Hindi collection is also increasing, because of changing demographics in the area. Other languages in the collection include French, Polish and Russian.

Queens Library at Woodhaven serves a wide population. Besides the expected services for children and students of all ages, staff is working to increase outreach to two senior centers by starting a senior book club and memoir-writing workshops. The library also draws many job-seekers for computer use, and there are two weekly ESOL classes offered for intermediate-level learners and beginners.

For years, the local business improvement district has dubbed the area “a haven in the city.” Woodhaven is a vibrant, growing and diverse community of families and active seniors, some of whom have kept the library’s monthly Woodhaven Book Club going strong after an astonishing 40 years. The Friends of Woodhaven Library are also active, and have held fundraisers to support programs and collection development.

Woodhaven residents who shop and dine locally are able to weave a visit to Queens Library at Woodhaven in with the area’s offerings. It’s a lovely place for both information and recreation. Why not visit today?